Aide was Terminated for Stealing – Home-Care Aide
Aide was Terminated for Stealing – a home health aide at the Augustana Chapel View Apartments had stolen from a resident by paying about $1000.00 of bills with the resident’s checks. According to a story in the Star & Tribune the aide was terminated was fired less than two months after being accused of theft. The newsstory went on to explain how in another facility owned by Augustana Care Corp., of Minneapolis, a home-care aide took OxyContin narcotic pain medicine from a resident and replaced it with Ibuprofen, according to a state investigator.
As an attorney that handles abuse and neglect cases in Minnesota I have seen many forms of criminal activity. Unfortunately, there are situations where a resident in a nursing home or other type of senior care facility is taken advantage of and financially exploited.
For the rest of the Star and Tribune article title: Health aide stole from Hopkins care patient.
The Health Care Bill of Rights, Minnesota Statute § 144.651, Subd. 25 allows competent residents may manage their personal affairs, or shall be given at least a quarterly accounting or financial transactions on their behalf if they delegate this responsibility in accordance with the laws of Minnesota to the facility for any period of time.
The Minnesota Vulnerable Adults Act Minnesota Statute § 626.557 establishings when mandated reporters need to “report” elder abuse and neglect:
626.557 REPORTING OF MALTREATMENT OF VULNERABLE ADULTS.
Subdivision 1.Public policy. The legislature declares that the public policy of this state is to protect adults who, because of physical or mental disability or dependency on institutional services, are particularly vulnerable to maltreatment; to assist in providing safe environments for vulnerable adults; and to provide safe institutional or residential services, community-based services, or living environments for vulnerable adults who have been maltreated.
In addition, it is the policy of this state to require the reporting of suspected maltreatment of vulnerable adults, to provide for the voluntary reporting of maltreatment of vulnerable adults, to require the investigation of the reports, and to provide protective and counseling services in appropriate cases.
Subd. 2. [Repealed, 1995 c 229 art 1 s 24]
Subd. 3.Timing of report.
(a) A mandated reporter who has reason to believe that a vulnerable adult is being or has been maltreated, or who has knowledge that a vulnerable adult has sustained a physical injury which is not reasonably explained shall immediately report the information to the common entry point. If an individual is a vulnerable adult solely because the individual is admitted to a facility, a mandated reporter is not required to report suspected maltreatment of the individual that occurred prior to admission, unless:
(1) the individual was admitted to the facility from another facility and the reporter has reason to believe the vulnerable adult was maltreated in the previous facility; or
(2) the reporter knows or has reason to believe that the individual is a vulnerable adult as defined in section 626.5572, subdivision 21, clause (4).
(b) A person not required to report under the provisions of this section may voluntarily report as described above.
(c) Nothing in this section requires a report of known or suspected maltreatment, if the reporter knows or has reason to know that a report has been made to the common entry point.
(d) Nothing in this section shall preclude a reporter from also reporting to a law enforcement agency.
(e) A mandated reporter who knows or has reason to believe that an error under section 626.5572, subdivision 17, paragraph (c), clause (5), occurred must make a report under this subdivision. If the reporter or a facility, at any time believes that an investigation by a lead agency will determine or should determine that the reported error was not neglect according to the criteria under section 626.5572, subdivision 17, paragraph (c), clause (5), the reporter or facility may provide to the common entry point or directly to the lead agency information explaining how the event meets the criteria under section 626.5572, subdivision 17, paragraph (c), clause (5). The lead agency shall consider this information when making an initial disposition of the report under subdivision 9c.
Subd. 3a.Report not required.
The following events are not required to be reported under this section:
(1) A circumstance where federal law specifically prohibits a person from disclosing patient identifying information in connection with a report of suspected maltreatment, unless the vulnerable adult, or the vulnerable adult’s guardian, conservator, or legal representative, has consented to disclosure in a manner which conforms to federal requirements. Facilities whose patients or residents are covered by such a federal law shall seek consent to the disclosure of suspected maltreatment from each patient or resident, or a guardian, conservator, or legal representative, upon the patient’s or resident’s admission to the facility. Persons who are prohibited by federal law from reporting an incident of suspected maltreatment shall immediately seek consent to make a report.
(2) Verbal or physical aggression occurring between patients, residents, or clients of a facility, or self-abusive behavior by these persons does not constitute abuse unless the behavior causes serious harm. The operator of the facility or a designee shall record incidents of aggression and self-abusive behavior to facilitate review by licensing agencies and county and local welfare agencies.
(3) Accidents as defined in section 626.5572, subdivision 3.
(4) Events occurring in a facility that result from an individual’s error in the provision of therapeutic conduct to a vulnerable adult, as provided in section 626.5572, subdivision 17, paragraph (c), clause (4).
(5) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a report of financial exploitation, as defined in section 626.5572, subdivision 9, solely on the basis of the transfer of money or property by gift or as compensation for services rendered.
Vulnerable Adults Act Minnesota Statute § 626.5772 Subd. 9. Defines financial exploitation.
“Financial exploitation” means:
(a) In breach of a fiduciary obligation recognized elsewhere in law, including pertinent regulations, contractual obligations, documented consent by a competent person, or the obligations of a responsible party under section 144.6501, a person:
(1) engages in unauthorized expenditure of funds entrusted to the actor by the vulnerable adult which results or is likely to result in detriment to the vulnerable adult; or
(2) fails to use the financial resources of the vulnerable adult to provide food, clothing, shelter, health care, therapeutic conduct or supervision for the vulnerable adult, and the failure results or is likely to result in detriment to the vulnerable adult.
(b) In the absence of legal authority a person:
(1) willfully uses, withholds, or disposes of funds or property of a vulnerable adult;
(2) obtains for the actor or another the performance of services by a third person for the wrongful profit or advantage of the actor or another to the detriment of the vulnerable adult;
(3) acquires possession or control of, or an interest in, funds or property of a vulnerable adult through the use of undue influence, harassment, duress, deception, or fraud; or
(4) forces, compels, coerces, or entices a vulnerable adult against the vulnerable adult’s will to perform services for the profit or advantage of another.
(c) Nothing in this definition requires a facility or caregiver to provide financial management or supervise financial management for a vulnerable adult except as otherwise required by law.
To reduce the risk of financial exploitation you may want to:
• Conducting background checks on any individual who is handling the senior’s finances, or comes into senior’s home.
• Keep valuables in safety deposit box at bank or other safe place if possible.
• Keep copies of bills and receipts for expenses.
• Request regular accounting concerning any expenditures with copies of paid bills.
• Report suspected abuse to police, friend and family.
This website is not intended to provide legal advice as each situation is different and specific factual information must be obtained before an attorney is able to assess the legal questions relevant to your situation.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from neglect or abuse in a nursing home or other care facility that serves the elderly in Minnesota please call Kenneth LaBore for a free consultation and information regarding the obligations of the facility and your rights as a resident or concerned family member. To contact Attorney Kenneth L. LaBore, directly please send an email to KlaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com or call Ken at 612-743-9048 or toll free at 1-888-452-6589.